The Time is Now

In 1954, tax legislation put a chokehold on our nation’s churches and houses of worship as far as what could be said politically. In 2003, the chokehold of speech was tightened when McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance legislation was enacted. McCain-Feingold permits the Federal Election Commission to put limits on a non-profit organization’s conduct and financial support of federal political candidates during the election cycle.
What does this mean for the Christian church? Pastors already gingerly choose what they say regarding political candidates. The church has had its hands tied for years as far as being able to voice opinions about candidates and sensitive issues. But this is the first Presidential election where God’s people will experience the effect of McCain-Feingold, more so limiting education about political candidates.
Many Conservative, pro-family, non-profit organizations have been formed in order to fill the gap of the Church’s inability to speak. These organizations often alert Christians when to act and how to act in order to ensure that pro-family legislation is enacted and that Conservative candidates are elected. However, last year’s campaign-finance legislation makes it harder for Conservative Christian organizations to act and provide information to the public.
Just as the 1954 IRS, 501(c)3, non-profit, religious organization tax legislation was vague and hard to understand, so is McCain-Feingold. There are many limitations to what non-profits can do including limiting television commercials, internet activity, and fund contribution. Therefore because of fear of violating the law, which could result in hefty fines and even jail time, some organizations may stay silent during the most crucial time in the Presidential election, the last 60 days.
With religious free speech on attack, who will fill the gap? Not yet has there been any limitations put on what information can be given by an individual during an election. Therefore, it is up to Christians, separate from their organizations, to stand up and speak the truth about political issues and political candidates.
There are three things that a Christian individual can do to help ensure that a pro-life, pro-family President is elected this year. The first thing is to be educated about the Presidential candidates and the issues. We cannot go out and effectively speak to fellow Americans about the candidates until we have learned who they are and where they stand on the issues.
Research the candidates. Look at websites. If they have been in office before, look at their voting records. Find out what legislation they have proposed and what initiatives they have put forth. If you still have questions, call the candidates campaign or their legislative offices.
Second is to donate. If you find a candidate who represents your Christian values and have the resources to do so, give financially. If Conservative, pro-family people don’t support Christian candidates, who will? An individual can give up to $2,000 to a federal candidate.
Third and finally, do not forget to vote. If you are not registered to vote do so now. Encourage others in your congregation to do so. It’s simple. The only way to win an election is to have a majority of the votes. In order to be in the majority every one has to register and cast their vote. Every vote counts. Florida in the 2000 election was example of that.
This Presidential election is a crucial, turning point in our nations history. With many issues such as war, national security, abortion, and the sanctity of marriage at the forefront our votes in this election are crucial. It is easy to see from the past how religious free speech and action can easily be hampered. With morality on a slippery slope, if Christians don’t act now, their rights may further be taken away. The time is now to take a stand.
Doreen Linder has served in politics for almost twenty years. She currently works as the Southeastern Chapter Development Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and has a weekly, Internet talk show geared towards Conservative Christians. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Paul and two children.


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